About Books and Reading
Bedside reading

About Books and Reading

Each year, I look forward to the fall months for news about books and reading.  Magazines, newspapers and trade organizations choose the fall to announce their selections for “best books” of the year.  It is a good time to compare our favorite books with these lists, hoping to add undiscovered gems to our reading lists. Many prestigious book awards also are announced in the fall.  The National Book Awards were unveiled in November; the Man Booker Prize was announced in October.  The publication of outstanding books and the awarding of prestigious prizes, however, are by no…

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Resolutions

Another year has arrived, and I am reminded that it is time to update my New Year’s resolutions! Most likely, some of mine are similar to or overlap with yours. Resolutions: Fitness First off, there is that pesky weight gain that coincides with fall celebrations. Whether they come from too much partying, excessive sweets, calorie-laden holiday meals, or simple inactivity, daily walks and other forms of exercise are part of the antidote. My father, gone now for 25 years, would have been 99 years old this coming May. He had a sense of humor about my…

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National Letter Writing Day

National Letter Writing Day is Friday, Dec. 7. The date is timely because it serves as a reminder to reconnect with the people you care about during the holiday season. The history and origin of National Letter Writing Day is unclear, but it is perpetrated by a website, National Today, which endeavors to find a reason to celebrate every day of the year.   National Today is the inspiration of PR Hacker, a broad-based San Francisco public relations firm specializing in technology and health. National Letter Writing Day is different from World Letter Writing Day, an endeavor…

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Too Many Note Cards?

Can a person have too many note cards?  A recent home renovation project required that I pack and move the contents of one large closet, four bookshelves, a lateral file cabinet, and two writing desks.  Along the way, I rediscovered more than a few boxes of stationery and note cards, as well as holiday cards, postcards, and assorted greeting cards for all occasions. A move can be a very effective way to discover things that are no longer needed.  While downsizing, I donated several boxes of books to the Friends of the Library for the Annual…

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More About Stamps
Birds in Winter. Image courtesy of USPS

More About Stamps

  Stamps have been in the news recently. The surfacing of a rare inverted Jenny stamp, a dispute over the use of an image of the Statue of Liberty, and new releases of novel, innovative and popular stamp motifs have all received media attention in recent months. New stamps, now on sale at post offices or online through USPS.com, include four new holiday stamps as well as re-releases of past popular images; a World War I commemorative stamp; Hot Wheels; Birds in Winter; Dragons; the much anticipated John Lennon stamp; and others. John Lennon The John…

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Roots

Taking stock of one’s roots can be much more than a hobby or pastime. Thanks to multiple resources for genealogical research, it is possible today to trace ancestry, connect with distant relations, and explore your own identity. For decades, I have been the owner of boxes and drawers full of family photos. They range from formal portraits of elders and ancestors, taken from the late 1800s to the turn of the century, to mid-century snapshots of my early nuclear family, circa 1940s through 1960s. Due to faulty color film and sticky photo albums of the 1970s…

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Bye, Bye Baby
BMT Q Car Number 1612C (1908, rebuilt 1938), New York Transit Museum

Bye, Bye Baby

Bye, bye baby is what my two-year old grandson says to his reflection in the mirror. While he seems to understand that the baby is himself, fascination with the reflection in the mirror continues. When I travel to Brooklyn these days, it rarely is about going into Manhattan to see shows or exhibitions. Attending music class, a story time trip to the library, playtime at the YMCA, or a visit to the playground is what brings me joy. A ride on the bus or train has become an activity in and of itself as much as…

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What’s New at the Post Office
John Lennon stamp will be releases on Sept. 7

What’s New at the Post Office

Services, facilities and politics are evolving at the USPS.  So, what’s new at the post office? One service I tried out this year and have found very helpful is Informed Delivery.  Launched in the spring of 2017, Informed Delivery provides the postal customer with a daily email, which includes photocopies of the letter sized pieces to be delivered in that day’s mail, as well as notification of anticipated packages. Given the massive quantities of junk mail that the average customer receives, this service is valuable in anticipating important letters and documents. If you haven’t yet signed…

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Summer Road Trips
Colorado Rockies highway. Photo by Lukas Kloeppel, Pexels Photos

Summer Road Trips

Many people will be taking vacations that involve road trips this summer, especially now that the kids are out of school. National parks and monuments are among the favored destinations, as are visits to family summer camps, or to relatives and friends in other states. While Americans’ love of the automobile has waned in urban areas, the freedom that comes from driving on the open road remains a delight. Car/SUV travel brings places and people into focus in unexpected ways. The road trips of my childhood, however, were never about sightseeing or taking a leisurely drive.…

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The Ants Go Marching One by One
Autumn and Percy enjoy ant-free dinner. Photo by Murray Schneider

The Ants Go Marching One by One

This spring, the ants go marching across our kitchen floor, one by one. They are pesky, smart little guys that appear seemingly out of nowhere. The little scouts wander around, looking for something tasty. So far, the main target for these loners has been the cat food dishes. These ants leave no trace of where they come from. There is never a line or trail of marching ants to follow, just one or two scattered here and there. Ant traps placed around the perimeter of the house have had no effect on their presence. In past…

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